b. 1826 Rathmichael, County Wicklow, Ireland. d. 09/01/1886 Toronto, Canada.
Denis Dempsey (1826-1886) was born in 1826 in Rathmichael, Bray, County Dublin, Ireland. He enlisted in the 10th Regiment of Foot (later Lincolnshire Regiment) in 1844 and spent 16 years in India. Stationed at Dinapore, he was one of the soldiers sent to relieve the Europeans trapped at Arrah. During the retreat to the river on 29th July 1857, he went to the aid of Ensign Erskine who was severely wounded. Dempsey went to him despite the heavy fire, and picked him up and carried him for over five miles to safety. Sadly, Erskine died of his wounds the following day. This incident was included in his later citation for the VC (published 17th February 1860).
The two incidents he was mostly cited for happened on 12th August 1857, when he was the first man to enter the village of Jugdispore, under a heavy fire from the enemy. Then on 14th March 1858, at Lucknow, Dempsey carried a powder bag through a burning village, with great coolness and gallantry, for the purpose of mining a passage in rear of the enemy’s position. He managed to do it despite being exposed to very heavy fire from the enemy who were behind loop-holed walls. He was also at great risk from the sparks which flew in every direction from the blazing houses.
Dempsey returned to England and was presented with his Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on 9th November 1860. When Dempsey left the Army shortly afterwards, he emigrated to Canada, and settled in Toronto. He died on 10th January 1886, aged 64 at his home, 103 Simcoe Street in Central Toronto. He was buried in the Roman Catholic section of St Michael’s Cemetery in Toronto. A headstone was erected on the site of his grave in 1992. His medals are not publicly held.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: ST MICHAEL'S CEMETERY, TORONTO, CANADA. PLOT 1 GRAVE 88